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Jerry Stoltz hit a game-winning teardrop with 7.9 seconds remaining in Hinsdale South’s 59-57 victory over Quincy after being presented with a choice.
Hornets coach Tanner Mitchell had a pair of plays in mind to run after the Blue Devils tied Saturday night’s game 57-57 in the final minute, and asked Stoltz for his preference. Stoltz chose “Four,” a high screen-and-roll.
After the timeout, the senior point guard successfully split Quincy’s double team, got into the lane and drained the eight-foot game-winner.
“(I) had to make a play,” said Stoltz, a senior point guard. “The lane was just open so I took it.”
Stoltz scored nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Hinsdale South (5-12) stave off a late charge by Quincy. The Blue Devils (13-3) trailed by 10 points with 5:40 remaining in the game, but rallied partly because of six turnovers committed by the Hornets in the fourth quarter. Hinsdale South committed just three turnovers in the game’s first three quarters.
Despite Stoltz’s clutch shot with 7.9 seconds remaining and Hinsdale South getting a defensive stop on the ensuing possession, the Blue Devils almost pulled off a stunning comeback. Quincy senior Cole Abbey stole the Hornets’ inbounds pass at midcourt and, as time expired, launched a three-point attempt. Abbey’s three-pointer narrowly missed, going off the backboard and bouncing off the front of the rim.
The Hornets have lost five games by six points or less this season, but Stoltz feels that the Hornets’ experience in those narrow losses is finally starting to pay off.
“I think it helps us because in the beginning of the season we did lose a lot, but it’s not like we were getting blown out,” the senior said. “It’s helped us calm down toward the end. And now the close games are going our way.”